Mankato, Minn. --- Junior winger Julian Napravnik's overtime goal lifted third-ranked Minnesota State to a 4-3 win over #19 Bemidji State in Western Collegiate Hockey Association action Thursday.
Undefeated in league play with an 11-0-0 record, the win gives the Mavericks possession of the 2020-21 WCHA regular-season title. Minnesota State has now won six games in a row and stand 16-2-1 overall. Minnesota State is the first team in the history of the WCHA to win four consecutive MacNaughton Cups as the league's regular-season championships.
It was the visiting Beavers got on the board first when Tyler Kirkup found the puck in the middle of a scrum and fired a shot from left circle past Dryden McKay at 8:44 of the opening period. Todd Burgess took an offensive-zone win by Jake Jaremko, walking across the middle of the ice with the puck before wiring it past Zach Driscoll at the 14:00-minute mark in making it a 1-1 game.
Jake Livingstone lofted a pass that Brendan Furry took near the BSU blue line and the sophomore center from Toledo, Ohio went forehand-backhand in scoring his third goal of the season at the 0:57 mark of the second period. Less than a minute later, Andy Carroll's wrister beat Driscoll high on the gloveside at 1:42 and it became a 3-1 Minnesota State lead. Ethan Somoza rifled a shot from the slot that beat McKay high on the stickside at 16:14 and the Mavericks entered the locker room owning a 3-2 lead at the end of the second period.
BSU's Alex Ierullo collected a rebound and put the puck into the net at the 19:37 mark to send the game into overtime.
Napravnik got the game winner at 4:08 of overtime to end the game. The goal is the eighth of the year for Napravnik who leads the Mavericks with four game-winning tallies on the season.
The Mavericks outshot the Beavers by a 29-26 margin in the game and McKay, who stopped 23 shots, owns a 15-1-0 mark for the year with the win.
Minnesota State and Bemidji State close out the two-game WCHA series Saturday in Bemidji with a 6:07 p.m. face-off scheduled.